Fan Page Friday: Don’t LIKE It Unless You LOVE It

Don't Like it Unless You Love It on Facebook

It’s no secret that I’m a grumpy marketer. I hate fake and inauthentic. People who cut corners drive me crazy. Whiners don’t get my sympathy. And I don’t always play by the rules by copying techniques because “they work.”

Well, my old man side came out again on Friday, and I’d love to get your input…

You’re probably familiar with a practice called Fan Page Friday, or something along those lines. It’s when a Page writes a status update, asking everyone to share their Facebook Pages.

Of course, it’s an engagement magnet. People love it. Everyone shares their Pages. The host Page gets a boost in engagement and possible EdgeRank while the Fans undoubtedly get a bunch of Likes as a result. Everyone wins.

But I’ve gotta wonder… Does it help?

Here’s the status update I wrote on Friday, shortly before screaming at the neighbor kids to “Get off my lawn!”

I don’t participate in Fan Page Friday and efforts like it because I firmly believe that it does more harm than good. It at least appears to me that people are willingly inviting Fans who will have no interest in their Page in an effort to increase a superficial number. This inevitably leads to people complaining about Reach and Engagement.

Do I need to loosen up? Am I being too harsh?

We are obsessed with the wrong numbers. Evidence of this is anyone who buys Likes or freaks out about a drop in Reach without looking at the other data. These numbers are superficial and mean close to nothing.

I don’t need to convince you (or most of you) that buying Likes is wrong. It leads to no additional engagement. It inflates your numbers. It lowers the percentage of engagement which undoubtedly kills your EdgeRank, limiting Reach to actual Fans. And it makes it difficult to assess what is true and what isn’t.

Tagging Sessions and other things like them are no different than buying likes. If you aren’t familiar with them, these are underground communities that get you a ton of Likes in exchange for you blindly Liking a bunch of junk you probably don’t care about.

So Fan Page Friday isn’t quite that bad, but isn’t it the next step?

Now, understand that in most cases this is not the intention of the person hosting Fan Page Friday. I know and respect a ton of people who do this. The thought is that it’s a networking opportunity and that people will Like Pages that interest them.

But is that what happens? I’m not convinced. I’m grumpy and old and pretty certain everyone’s constantly looking for a way to cheat.

Where are my prunes?

And look, I get it. I remember the early days of my Facebook Page clearly. Growing is hard. Talking to yourself sucks. And we’re not patient. Like everyone else, I was looking for ways to change that quickly.

But I wish I knew then what I know now. The people who make up your “Fans” will determine whether you succeed or fail on Facebook. If they don’t care about you or your content, you are toast.

You’re toast, but at least you have a bunch of Fans who don’t care about your stuff!

No matter how much I scream about it, we focus on empty Likes. Meanwhile, those people either ignore us or hide us. The number of people who engage drops. We freak about our disappearing Reach. And we point fingers at Facebook for forcing us to pay to reach them.

That’s right, pay to reach people who don’t care about your content in the first place because you didn’t take the right steps to cultivate the right audience.

Yes, grumpy and harsh. And maybe over the top. I love Bingo. And slot machines.

I could be completely wrong about Fan Page Friday. I’ve actually been wrong before. I was thrilled that my friends Andrea Vahl and Ching Ya, who both participate in Fan Page Friday, piped in with the value that they think it provides. They nearly convinced me.

But if they did that, I’d have nothing to write about. And I’m stubborn.

A nice follow-up is that I conducted a video interview with Andrea yesterday, and we discussed this topic. I’ll publish it on… FAN PAGE FRIDAY! You won’t want to miss it.

What do you think? Do you participate in Fan Page Friday? Do you find that it helps?

Either way, I simply ask you to do one thing…

Don’t LIKE it unless you LOVE it!

  • Juliette Rule

    Nice post, Jon. I don’t understand why a Page would inflate its numbers by buying likes. I honestly just don’t get it … the point of building a list is marketing. How do you market to bots and nobodies and people who don’t care? Why would you?

    • Jon Loomer

      Agreed, Juliette. People who buy likes are clearly focused on the wrong numbers, thinking that Likes = Success. It’s the result of panic and frustration.

      By the way, did you get my email? Want to be sure since I kinda wonder if my stuff goes into spam for some people.

  • Renee Jean

    Hi Jon, just stumbled across your page while researching advertising on facebook. I really like this post and thought I’d comment. First let me start off by saying, I agree! It’s frustrating trying to grow your audience on a business page, but I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. Which is why I haven’t bought “likes”. Call me old fashioned, an old soul, etc. It wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe I read it wrong, but do you also suggest NOT advertising on FB? I’m assuming I read it wrong, considering the obvious. I just purchased my first ad, but thought I was doing a good thing by targeting a certain audience and not just everyone.

    • Jon Loomer

      Hi, Renee! Oh, I definitely think you should use Facebook advertising. You should be careful in how you use it and do it strategically (the optimized CPM option, for example, can invite spam), but I’ve found ads to be a great tool.

  • Natalie Ah-Chee

    Great post – I stumbled across one of those ‘increase your likes – networking party’ pages and pretty much every day is fan page friday on their fb page. At first I thought ‘hey, this could be awesome, I hate talking to myself and running competitions no one enters’. Then after tagging my page I thought I’d check out a few other pages and I had a great time making connections…. until one person sent me the exact same copy-pasted message to both of my facebook pages (and this was after I’d already replied to one). I realized that these people actually didn’t care about my photography AT ALL. All they wanted was likes. I don’t mind the odd person popping up and leaving their fb page, I always go and check it out, but yesterday I did a giant chop to all the pages I had liked and didn’t love and now I’m a bit more cautious about who I return the ‘like’ to. I want people to network with me – to connect and swap services or cross-promote – but I don’t want a bunch of randoms in the wrong part of the country who don’t care, to ‘like’ my page because I know that one day they’ll do a massive chop to their ‘likes’ and I’ll get unliked because they didn’t care in the first place and then I’m back to square one with very few likes haha! Not to mention the skewed stats for reach and engagement ;)

    • Jon Loomer

      Exactly, Natalie. I get those messages from people and I don’t even participate in these parties. One reason I prefer Facebook over Twitter and Google+ is there isn’t any pressure for reciprocation. Like something because you actually care about the content, not because you expect something in return!

  • kris

    Actually a lot of your post isnt accurate. I have participated in the things you malign…sure there is an element of people who arent genuine likers..but the majority of people turn out to be when they know you exist…Ive lost count of the sales I have made purely to involving myself in the very things you rubbish. You can dislike them if you like..but they arent a waste of time and they arent rubbish…sorry Jon but you do not know everything and you arent always right.

    • Jon Loomer

      Oh, I know I don’t know everything, Kris. Actually, I don’t know a lot. The discussion on this is not closed. I acknowledge that in theory this could work — and it may work for some as it has apparently worked for you. I just ask that people be careful, authentic and genuine when participating in them. Don’t like pages to get something in return. Like pages because you generally care about the content.

      If you’re part of a network that is clear about the intention — expose great pages you may be interested in, but without any reciprocal pressure — I think it can absolutely be valuable.

  • Michelle

    I believe if you genuinely like the pages that interest you, there is no forced liking or ‘hey I liked you now you like me’ then they have huge value. I have made many fans, customers and friends this way – my page engagement is high, as is my fan base (and my bank balance), Cheers, Michelle

    • Jon Loomer

      Agreed, Michelle! It sounds like you’ve found like such a group, and when you do it’s magic. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that most operate in this way. Those are the ones you need to be careful about!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the very interesting and insightful article. I admit that I’m one of those who loves to cut corners by joining Fan Page Fridays (esp Increase Your Likes NZ)!

    Whether it works or not, IMHO it depends on the attitude expectations of the people taking part in it. If you are approaching as a numbers game (purely to increase the number of likes for your page), then, I believe you will be bitterly disappointed. Monitoring the number of likes on your page going yo-yo will certainly be counter-productive and land you in a super depressive state (you know what I mean). However, if you look beyond that, then, you might actually see some benefits by joining it.

    Just from my personal experience, I had met a lot of lovely people whom I would not have met if I didn’t join it in the first place. Yes, for every nice ones there are bound to be 2 or more of the not so nice ones (but who cares and why waste your time on them). On the average, for every 10 likes I get, I will loose 3 within the week (not my loss coz they are the ones losing out on what my page have to offer), out of the remaining 7, 3 will actively interact with my page (yup, I have a lot of happy people on my page) and 1 (out of the 7) will buy from me or refer their friends to me. So in the end, I do gain some benefits.

    So really, it’s up to you on whether you want to be grumpy and harsh about it (coz you are just focusing on numbers) or be an optimist (and look at the intangible benefits from it). (That’s life isn’t it?) In the end, it’s really your attitude that determines the outcome of whether Fan Page Fridays will work for you or not.

    BTW, I run Bingo on my page and you are welcome to join us. :)

    • Jon Loomer

      Good stuff, Sarah. You’re absolutely right. As long as you have the right approach to this and aren’t looking to boost numbers, it can be beneficial. It not only depends on you personally, but the attitudes and goals of the people in the group. If you’ve got a good group, use it!

      And sign me up for that Bingo!

  • Kelly Brian Paull

    This post is awesome sauce in so many different ways! First, I’m right there with you on not being a FAN of Fan Page Friday. It does elevate the stats for the page hosting and that can seem like a good idea…those pages also find themselves in a cycle of having to keep it up or numbers drop way off. It’s always fun to explain to clients that they are yelling into a black hole because a very small percentage of their fans are actually TRULY interested in their business or service because they have been playing like ladder games instead of building their brand and following the right way. I can think of one fan page Friday that seems to really get the engagement going with quality connections…of course I can’t participate because what kind of hypocrite would that make me? :) Second, way to post on a controversial topic to get people commenting and interacting and pulling Andrea in for a chat…like I said, awesome sauce!

    • Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Kelly! And where have you been lately??

  • Ravi Shukle

    Great article Jon and one im passionate about, this is one of those Marmite situations you either love it or you hate it. Personally i like to host a fanpage friday each week on my page for the networking aspect so not for businesses to boost their like numbers more to boost their connections and increase their chances of meeting new and interesting people. However there is a culture out there for the old “like exchange” technique saying they’ve liked your page now like theirs. This is where the process starts to go downhill as it takes what is meant to be a community building experience to one of shady tactics to grow false numbers.

    In a bid to try and stop the copy and pasters of this world i encourage my fans to tell me in one sentence what it is they do and to introduce their business before posting their link helping to offer context to others who post.

    On the whole if the parties are promoted and monitored correctly it can be a great way to build community and interact with other businesses who share the same interest. As for the “like exchange” tactics and tag events i guess it’s up to pages like ours to educate and inform businesses that this technique might seem to offer more likes in a shorter period of time but if they aren’t relevant to your business, your engagement and overall messaging will suffer. What good is a house if it is built on a poor foundation.
    a few seconds ago · Like

    • Jon Loomer

      Awesome points, Ravi! It’s absolutely the responsibility of the host, and when done right it could actually be a benefit. It sounds like you’re doing it the right way!

  • Debbie Doglady

    Well, you certainly DO have a point. Since my blogging career is just getting serious, I feel I have to participate in these things, at least initially.

    • Jon Loomer

      I completely understand, Debbie. I was there, too. My recommendation, though, is to do so cautiously and understand what it is you are getting yourself into. Do all you can to get qualified fans because getting people who will simply hide or ignore your content will ultimately hurt your ability to reach those who actually do want to see your posts.

  • Marta Ng

    Love your article. I stay away from all the tagging, hiking and shutout pages. My fan base grows slowly and I am definitely not complaining about the reach. I only have about 300, but I have plenty of orders and do really well at the markets. Fake likes get you nothing. It doesn’t matter how many likes you’ve got. If you ain’t good you’re …toast :)